Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's now Gawai Dayak with a difference

AS SOCIETY develops, with an ever greater emphasis on modernising lifestyles at the expense of traditions, there are ways to keep centuries-old cultures relevant.

Take the annual Gawai Dayak festival for example, which celebrates the end of the padi harvesting season and is essentially a thanksgiving occasion.

“Gawai has always been a celebration of good harvests, and at the same, to seek blessings for better times ahead,” Singai Sarawak Research and Development Movement Association (Redeems) president Datuk Peter Nansian Ngusie said.

“Of course, today, a large percentage of our communities no longer plant padi. The better educated ones are now professionals working in offices. In that sense, for many, Gawai Dayak is now celebrated with a slightly different mindset.”

In a way, the festival's celebration is representative of the fragmented progress of development within Sarawak's native communities.

Celebrations at villages close to cities and towns have taken a more contemporary tone. Some have incorporated various western influences like drinking beers, wine and whisky alongside the more traditional tuak, the indigenous rice wine.

Continue reading at: It's now Gawai Dayak with a difference

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